More Failures to Keep a Low Profile When Falsely Claiming Disability

LTB logo

Two recent stories again make the point that if you have decided to commit fraud by falsely claiming to be disabled, you really should try not to draw attention to your not-disabled self.

Ronald Hunt, an interior designer in California, pleaded guilty in November to two counts of fraud after it became clear that he was not unable to work as he had claimed, and so should not have collected $147,000 in disability payments.  This became clear when an employee of the insurance company that was making those payments happened to see Hunt on TV, working, on a home-improvement cable show.  Hunt had in fact been working the whole time and had earned about $400,000 in income in addition to the benefits.

Officials said Hunt had also been avoiding income tax during that time, although he apparently didn't do that on camera.

James Dorman of Liverpool, England, did not actually go on TV but did little to hide the fact that he was cheating, although he might have forgotten since he had been doing it for 16 years.  Dorman hurt his knee in the late 1980s and a doctor certified that he was virtually unable to walk as a result.  Well, actually, the report says that Dorman "was said to be only able to walk like a crab," so I guess that means he could walk just fine at least by crab standards.  Still, Dorman applied for and got disability benefits, which included not only money but also cars that were specially modified to accommodate him.  There doesn't seem to be any debate that Dorman's original injury was real.  But when his knee got better, he decided not to tell anybody about that, and collected over $50,000 in further payments.

It's not clear who tipped off the government that Dorman's knee might be fine, but an investigation resulted in video footage of him engaging in uncrablike activities like climbing a stepladder, pushing his car when it broke down, and — an especially unfortunate choice — "performing a jig for two children."  You've got to be in character at all times, people.  The unthinking jig is the one that's going to come back to haunt you.

It also turned out that Dorman had become an excellent golfer who had actually won a tournament organized by the agency where he worked.  Unless he was scuttling around the course sideways, it was likely apparent to everybody that he was not especially disabled anymore.

After being arrested, Dorman reportedly showed up for court on crutches and insisted that his symptoms were still "very similar" to those he developed in the 1980s.  That was probably before they showed him the video of him dancing a jig.  Afterwards, he pleaded guilty.

Link: Daily Express
Link: LA Weekly